Millau Viaduct :
unparalleled precision, boundless pride
Millau Viaduct kept Eiffage Group in the spotlight from the first incremental launch right through to inauguration. It took only three years (exactly) to build the world’s highest viaduct. We were able to keep to this very tight deadline thanks to the steel deck proposed and installed by the Group. Thousands of hours of calculation were needed during the study phase, and no other viaduct had ever been optimized in this way, from the design stage onwards. The works (counted in millions of hours) were carried through with unparalleled precision, in full safety conditions for the on-site teams. It was an extraordinary adventure, and the viaduct is a success that we can be proud of!
Discover the impressive images of the building site
Eiffage's bold financial and technical choices enabled us to deliver an emblematic engineering structure in December 2004 : Millau Viaduct.
This multi-span cable-stayed bridge was designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster and created by French engineer Michel Virlogeux. It is 343 metres high and 2,460 metres long, comprising 7 concrete piers and a steel deck. 85,000 m3 of concrete and 36,000 tonnes of steel structure were needed to build the viaduct, which took 14 years of preparation and 3 years of construction (2001-2004) to produce. All Eiffage's branches were involved, as were 600 master craftsmen at the height of the project. The bridge was inaugurated on 14 December 2004 by French President Jacques Chirac. Eiffage received the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering's Outstanding Structure Award in 2006. The IABSE praised the viaduct for being "an elegant, slender bridge ...constructed using an innovative launching procedure”.
Key stages* :
- 14 December 2001 - Laying the first stone. Transport Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot lays the first stone in a symbolic gesture marking the official start of the project. After completion of the earthworks and foundations stages, the first piers begin to rise into the sky.
- 25 March 2003 - Into open space. On the dry grasslands of the Larzac plateau, the first stretch of the deck is launched into open space, while the piers climb higher, in an attempt to break all records.
- 24 November 2003 - The piers hit their peak. Work on the piers is completed, and celebrated with a magnificent sound and light show admired by over 400 people.
- 28 May 2004 - A meeting 268 metres above the Tarn. The northern and southern halves of the deck finally meet 268 metres above the Tarn. Seven cable-stayed pylons complete this ship-like engineering structure.
- 14 December 2004 - Inauguration of Millau Viaduct The final works bring the project to a close after 3 years.
- On 14 December 2004, the viaduct is inaugurated by French President Jacques Chirac, in the presence of our project teams and a large number of guests.
* Extracts from the book "Millau Viaduct" - Éditions CEVM http://www.leviaducdemillau.com